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Friday Fuel: Kale Salad

Kale is a hearty, very earthy, healthy green leafy vegetable. It’s so full of nutrients that some people refer to it as a superfood. But it is also known to be very bitter and hard to eat. 

The good news is, when made right, kale can be really enjoyable. 

Obviously a tasty salad dressing is a good place to start, but there are other ways to turn that kale frown upside down. 


Let’s start by making sure you cut the kale into small delicate pieces. Do not forget to remove the thick stem. There is no hope for the stem, it’s the dark green soft leaves that you want to focus on.

Next you will want to marinate the kale for a little while before serving it. A small squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil is all you need. Think ceviche. Ceviche is raw fish marinated in citrus. The citrus actually “cooks” the fish. The same idea goes for the kale. Do not add salt! Salt will turn the kale into mush by extracting the water from the kale. 

Finally you will want to massage the kale. Massage the lemon and olive oil into the kale leaves using your hands. Really press the liquid into the crevices of the leaves. And let it sit while you make the dressing and prep the rest of the salad. 

This recipe calls for my homemade croutons. Once you make these you won’t want the store bought version ever again. But to make this recipe you will need a microwave. If you don’t want to make the croutons, you can skip that step and use store bought or just add some warm brown rice to the salad instead. 

This recipe calls for tahini dressing. You will thank me later for this recipe. It’s not only pungent and delicious but it’s really healthy and detoxing. The fresh ginger and garlic give it some “heat” and the lemon adds the tang. Tahini is hearty, creamy, earthy and nutty. I love this dressing and I know you will, too. 

Cheers to another healthy plant-based meal. 



  • Croutons - instead of croutons, you can add some warm brown rice to this kale salad. 
  • Red onion - swap for scallions.
  • Avocado - this is optional. The dressing is so creamy, you don’t need the avocado. 
  • Arugula - this is optional. Feel free to leave it out of the recipe or you can swap it for whatever green you have on hand: spinach, romaine, butter lettuce, etc. 


Kale Salad with Tahini Ginger Dressing

Yields 2-3 main dishes



  • 1 head kale, de stemmed and chopped (about 4 cups loosely packed)
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • Drizzle, olive oil
  • 2 cup baby arugula
  • ¼ large ripe avocado, sliced
  • ¼ red onion (about ¼ cup) thinly sliced
  • ½ cup raw almond slivers
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint)
  • Other raw veggies of choice


Tahini Ginger Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger root


Croutons (optional)

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 heaping Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tsp garlic salt 




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large salad bowl add the kale pieces. 
  3. Coat with lemon and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands massage the oil and lemon into the kale really well. This will help soften the kale and remove the bitter flavor and coarse texture. 
  4. Let the kale marinate while you prep the rest of the salad and the croutons.
  5. To toast the almonds, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool. 


  1. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a high speed blender. Blend on high until dressing is creamy and homogenous. Set aside. 


  1. In a microwave safe casserole dish add sourdough cubes. Sprinkle with garlic salt and toss. Add butter, 1 Tbsp on each side of the dish. 
  2. Microwave bread for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave, using a spoon evenly coat or mix the sourdough cubes with the melted butter. 
  3. Microwave again for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and mix croutons. Place back in the microwave. 
  4. Repeat step 3 for 4 more cycles in the microwave, mixing croutons well each time. 
  5. They are done when they are browned, not burnt. Let them cool completely before serving, so that they get crunchy.

To Serve

  1. Combine kale, croutons, veggies, and onion into a large serving bowl. Add 3 Tbsp tahini dressing and toss until well dressed. You will have some dressing left over, use sparingly. Add more, to taste, if necessary. 
  2. Add the arugula, herbs, toasted nuts, onions and avocado. Gently toss again. Serve immediately. 







Juli Novotny lives in Southern California with her tribe and spends her days cooking up a storm in her little plant-based kitchen. After owning a gluten-free vegan cookie company for 11 years, Juli has since been cooking for clients, consulting for health food start-ups, and developing recipes for cool, like-minded brands. Last year Juli finished an intensive course in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University online. You can find more of her recipes on her food blog: or on IG: @purekitchenblog